Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Only half of Vodacom's customers use data

Article Image
Only about half of Vodacom's customers in Africa are using mobile data. That's according to stats from the South African-based operator's quarterly trading update for the three months to December 31, 2020.

In the group's international operations of Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) the operator has a total of 39.4 million customers, but only 20.7 million are data users.

"Of these customers, only 11.2 million were on smartphones, highlighting the scope for data growth going forward. We continue to drive the adoption of affordable smartphone devices by leveraging partnerships with global tech firms and innovative financing options," the telco said.

Despite the low user numbers overall data traffic growth for the quarter was up 52.2% in these four countries. Normalized data revenue growth was also up 6% year-on-year in the quarter.

You would perhaps expect South Africa to be different, but in its home market Vodacom had 44.3 million customers at the end of December, and only 22.5 million were data users.

Smart devices on the SA network increased 4.5% to 23.5 million. There was also a big jump in specifically 4G devices, which grew 24% to 15.1 million while the average usage per smart device increased 34.9% to 2.1GB per month.

DRC draws in subs

DRC saw the biggest jump in year-on-year (YoY) customer growth, increasing 10% to 14.8 million Vodacom users in the country.

Tanzania is the biggest international market for Vodacom with almost 15.2 million users, despite a 2.7% decline in users YoY because of SIM card registration changes in the country.

South Africa's customer numbers were flat YoY at 44.3 million, while Mozambique saw a 3% increase in customers to 7.7 million.

However, Lesotho's customer base declined by 2.2% YoY to almost 1.7 million users. The telco is also facing a court battle with the Lesotho regulator which last year revoked its license in the country.

The international customer base increased 3.1% to 39.4 million, with net additions of 815,000 in the quarter.

Overall, the group saw service revenue increase 3.9% to R19.6 billion ($1.3 billion), driven by strong growth in South Africa despite a 1.4% decline in service revenue in the international operations.

"We see scope for consumer spend to recover over the medium term as trading and economies re-open from lockdowns," the group said.

Related posts:

*Top image by Idํlio Chirindja from Pixabay

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Swifttdial

Kenyan company Swifttdial is helping companies in Kenya and Nigeria set up cloud-based virtual call centers, with plans to expand further into West Africa.


Hot startup of the month: Egyptian telemedicine platform Vezeeta

Vezeeta, an Egyptian telemedicine platform, had a big 2020, raising US$40 million in Series D funding and expanding its healthtech services into Kenya and Nigeria.

More Innovation hub

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

East Africa Com
May 11-12, 2021
Virtual Event
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives


AfricaCom Interview: Onica Makwakwa on closing the digital gender gap

The Alliance for Affordable Internet's head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa, shares her views on how to narrow the digital gender gap and the challenges keeping women offline on the continent.


AfricaCom Interview: Tunde Fafunwa on how the ACIP is fighting COVID-19

Tunde Fafunwa from the UN Economic Commission for Africa explains how the Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) is helping Africa's battle against COVID-19.


AfricaCom Interview: Temidayo Oniosun on Africa's space and satellite industry

Space in Africa founder, Temidayo Oniosun, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities in the African space and satellite industry.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

SD-WAN and satellite – how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

Africa's mobile operators need better roaming monetization for growth
By Damion Rose, product manager for Mobile Signaling and Roaming Solutions at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up